The Aristocrats

We have adorable foxes hunting adorable dodos in adorable little packs.

Adorable murder.

Adorable murder.

There’s some neat stuff going on under the hood. A fox that first identifies a valid target for pack-hunting will tag itself as “calling the pack to hunt” which fulfills a requirement for other foxes to “join a pack to hunt”. This also tags the target of the hunt as a “pack-hunting target”. The pack “leader” and “followers” all get tagged into a hunting pack which enables the action of hunting down a targeted animal. The target is then either killed or the pack can be fought off – the moment one of the pack members chooses to flee, all of the pack members will flee and untag their (adorable) pack hunting behaviour. Lovely!

Pictured: A poetical aristocrat.  (As we all know, all poets are aristocrats because anyone who writes poetry can't possible have to do real work.)

Pictured: A poetical aristocrat.

As long as we’re implementing pack-hunting carnivores, why not do aristocrats as a two-for-one? Same thing.

So what, in fact, do aristocrats do?

The short answer is of course “nothing particularly useful” (to you). As any player of the classic Impressions city buildings knows, the upper class exist to make ridiculous infrastructure-expensive demands to create challenges and motivation to ascend the game’s building “tech”-tree and otherwise force the player to procure lots of fancy, extremely expensive stuff. It’s a good system.


Aristocrats love telling people what to do (even if they're not listening).

Aristocrats love telling people what to do (even if they’re not listening).

Dwarf Fortress adds additional interest to this suite of mechanics through the peculiarities of its character simulation. So for example a noble who is especially fond of bismuth bronze will really, really want a throne made of bismuth bronze. Armok help you if you don’t have the resources necessary to make bismuth bronze because beatings will be distributed until it happens (or an “accident” is arranged). Similarly, Clockwork Empires models character preferences – of a sort – through our traits system. Our test case: the Big Game Hunter trait.

As we all know, certain aristocrats are just mad about hunting. If an Aristocrat with the trait “Big Game Hunter” shows up, they’re going to pick up a gun and hunt animals whether you like it or not as is the prerogative of their Station in Clockworkian society. Better make sure they don’t get killed while hunting off in the woods because that would cause A Scandal which, surely, will mean all sorts of nasty letters getting published in The Empire Times criticizing the Colonial Ministry and thereby reducing your prestige.

(Other traits that seem promising to flesh out for Aristocratic indulgence: “Scholarly”, “Pigeon Fancier”, “Military Training”, “Drunkard”, “Maddened Intellectual”, and “An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles”.)

Two aristocrats take turns snubbing a lower class labourer.

Two aristocrats take turns snubbing a commoner. Aristocrats will only snub if there is another aristocrat around to notice them doing so.

Mechanically, yes, getting an aristocrat killed will damage your prestige, meaning you have a reduced ability to call in favours and the favours you do call will be more grudgingly granted. This effect will become more pronounced as the prestige system is fleshed out.

Aristocrats don’t take part in the overseer/workcrew system. They don’t do work. (“What, with my hands? That would be so dreadfully common.“) They generally sit around near fine furniture, complain if there isn’t any fine furniture, get involved in cults, and write strongly-worded letters to The Empire Times.

More poets.

More poetry; how dreadful.

But having aristocrats in your colony will generate prestige. And we want  to expand the mechanics of their behaviour so that given all that expensive infrastructure, they will in fact be able to do useful things (sometimes). If they feel like it. If you supply them with fine homes, fine food, and keep them from wandering off into the woods. You’ll be fine.

So I give you: The Aristocrats.


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24 Responses to “The Aristocrats”

  1. toasteroftoast says:

    Beetle fanciers flocking to the colonies! For Science!

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  2. tinsoldier says:

    Foxes are solitary creatures and on’t hunt in packs. Just sayin’

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    • AdminDavid Baumgart says:

      (Damn! … well, in any event, we have the behaviour sorted out and can apply it to anything.)

      Or, ahem … didn’t you know, the Cogwhizzling Fox unique to Temperate Antipodia does indeed hunt in packs? Ah, the wonders and variety of Nature!

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  3. Yeol says:

    How is “Morbid” not a promising trait to flesh out for Aristocratic indulgence?

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    • Samut says:

      Love this – the relevant Aristocrat job can be called something like “Poke dead body with a stick.”

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      • Stefan says:

        Perhaps if you give an Aristo with ‘Morbid Curiosity’ and ‘Maddened Intellect’ enough corpses to cut up they’ll turn into a Doctor, to the great benefit of your colony! Or perhaps they’ll turn into a maddened cultist, creating abominations of nature and leading those around them astray, to the not-so-great benefit of your colony!

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  4. Ratoslov says:

    Hopefully, you can pay Prestige to get another random aristocrat, more Prestige to get a aristocrat with a particular indulgence (perhaps hunting Aristocrats always band together?) and even more Prestige to get one to just go away– enough that it’s more than you’d lose from just killing the sap, but it’s there so you can not bother with engineering an accident.

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  5. oldbronzepaw says:

    Wouldn’t aristocrats be a source for officers for the military? Seems like from lieutenants up to colonels would come from their ranks. Wouldn’t some of the big game hunters also help protect colonists? Of course, I’d hate to have one decide fish people were a great sport and cause even more trouble.

    Would they also affect the operation and/or construction of some buildings? The old charity or donation thing would come from the snobs.

    This also makes me wonder why they came to the frontier to begin with. Is it medical, travel, getting their inheritors experience, what? It’s the frontier so what would motivate a such Olde Money to come out to such an non-cosmopolitan place?

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  6. Matz05 says:

    Oh, those foxes are indeed ADORABLE!
    The little animations that play when they stop really seal it.
    Did I see one on the edge of the frame getting up on its hind legs and screaming/whatever you call it at the dodo for running away in the middle of its attack animation?
    In the Colonies, foxes travel in ravenous little swarms, chasing after the local wildlife with the unstoppable powers of numbers and fluff.
    I wonder if one can encourage the fox colonies to greater numbers (through strategically dropped steaks?) and train them to skeletonize pesky aristocrats like adorably foppish little orange land piranha… And fishpeople while we’re at it.

    ‘In whispered tones, they called it “The City of the Orange Moat”, among other, more disturbing names. No armies ever reached the base of its walls, and nobody pushed outside ever got away from them…’

    Read All About It: Scandal most Orange!
    Local Aristocrat dead in freak specimen-acquisition accident!
    ‘What do you mean, “I can’t send a Colonial Swarm-Fox home for my family”? Money is no object! They can’t be so hard to catch! You’re just doing it wrong. Do you know Who I Am!? Watch this! Come here cute little — ARGH THE NIBBLING! THE INFERNAL, ADORABLE NIBBLING!’– Noble McEntitled, being distracted by the adorable and nibbled to death by a pack of killer swarm foxes. Eyewitness reactions varied between vomiting and “Aww…”, depending on the priorities of those surveyed and their level of resistance to cuteness but curiously, no brave members of the Lower Class stepped forward to rescue their better.
    See page 5 “Cuteness: natural beauty or mind-altering trickery granted by Things that Should Not Be? Know how YOU can stay safe from bloodthirsty fauna of the colonies!”

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    • Matz05 says:

      Oops, the thing seems to go all “angle brackets are HTML”, so let my rephrase my parting remark.

      (I second the assertion that these are SPECIAL foxes which may or may not be a symptom of the influence of Elder Things!)

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  7. Ghin says:

    I absolutely love that snubbing.gif. It reminds me that the world still has things I love in it.

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  8. Gazman says:

    For some reason I always assumed that aristocrats would pose the highest level of cult threat.

    The rich and powerful are almost always the leaders of otherworldly cults in films and fiction. With their status they would have better access to forbidden knowledge and would easily recruit new members using coercion. Also given their status frontier justice or other arranged “accidents” would prove detrimental to the colony and it’s prestige so they couldn’t be dealt with in the traditional way.

    I’m not saying all aristocrats should be the leaders of the occult but in my head they would pose the largest threat if they were inclined to worship eldritch forces. Perhaps they would take the activities of a cult to the ‘next level’ if they appeared and were able to promote cult activities unhindered?

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  9. “An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles”, eh? So God is an aristocrat then, which does make quite a lot of sense for this society.

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  10. maurizio says:

    I insist on creating the classic Swamp Monster eats foxes, ahahahah!

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  11. Christopher Bort says:

    I can’t believe this whole update went without the “Aristocrats” joke.

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  12. Janus says:

    Hm, One Thing that happens with saddening Regularity is that Colonists have a Job, and apparantly they will do that Job, even if it kills them. (which it frequently does) What I mean is, A Colonist is walking somewhere (dropping something of, wanting to bury someone) and ignores Attacks until he, regrettably, Dies.
    Annoying when it happens to your Soldiers. (I frequently use them For Hauling, but I cant really do that, when they are Determined to rather carry Stuff around and Die trying, than Defend themselves and the Colony)

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    • AdminDavid Baumgart says:

      Is this with 32C, D, or E? Because I was getting that but I believe it’s fixed.

      We’ll also have some new logic for dropping items intelligently which helps people respond to enemies more effectively. This’ll be in the first post-33 experimental build.

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  13. Blue Footed Booby says:

    I really hope there’ll be a way to erect guillotines as a solution to aristocrats causing trouble.

    If not, I like the idea of paying some amount of prestige to make them go away. It’d make sense for this to cost more than you’d lose from killing them because it has the benefit of being immediate, certain, and not requiring extra resources.

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